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Author Topic: Bath - Cleveland Bridge, Clean Air Zone, Diversions and effect  (Read 1324 times)
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« on: February 14, 2020, 11:46:22 am »

Well - not trains so I am posting in "The West - but NOT the West's trains".  Not really buses and other public transport either.   Nor "Bristol Commuters".  I guess if there's no logical place for a thread I can turn round and blame the person who came up with the topics in the first place.   Oops - I think that was me  Grin

From the Melksham Independent News

AN extra 200 heavy lorries a day could be diverted through Melksham on the A350 due to the weight restriction on Bath’s Cleveland Bridge.

Figures from Wiltshire Council say that Melksham could see up to 1,650 vehicles over 18-tonnes travelling through the town a day – an increase of 14% compared to traffic before the diversion.

Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES) has enforced the 18-tonne weight limit restriction on the A36 Cleveland Bridge due to it being ‘under threat structurally’.

The diversion,  which shifts heavy duty vehicles heading south from the M4 along the A350, began last  week and already residents are feeling the effect, with reports of a marked increase in heavy traffic.

In response to the increase in traffic, residents and local councillors are again calling for a bypass to be built to the east of Melksham and around Beanacre.

Beanacre resident Gary Jardine, who lives on the A350, told Melksham News, “It has made it more difficult getting into town – not to mention the impact it has had on air quality, which was already bad enough! I used to run along the A350, I wouldn’t dream of doing that now – it’s getting worse and worse.

“An HGV broke down on the Farmers Roundabout – and the traffic was tailed back through Beanacre. This is one problem that will happen more frequently. And I’ve seen lorries stalking cyclists as they are too frightened to overtake – which again backs up traffic.

“This will get worse when the bridge in Melksham’s town centre is closed to southbound traffic! I don’t know what the answer is, apart from a bypass.”

Vice chair of Melksham Without Parish Council, cllr John Glover said, “A typical BANES answer to a problem. Just like their air quality solution, pass the problem to someone else – Wiltshire.

“With weight limits in Bradford, most traffic south will be diverted through Beanacre, our  problem, and the west of Melksham. There will be a knock-on effect for northbound along the Semington bypass. If this is to be a constant irritant, not least because the BB&SC strategic route linking the A36 with the A46 across the River Avon was abandoned following objections from many Bathonians, then we too need to look to a solution for Beanacre, Melksham and the Semington bypass.

“This could be some form of bypass to the east of Beanacre, and Melksham/Bowerhill linking to the A350/A361 roundabout. Staying as far away from present housing as possible.”

[snip] - article continues

This weight restriction might be to / through the summer ... but then come November and the clean air charging zone in Bath comes into effect for heavy vehicles;   I don't know what proportion of heavy lorries are "Euro-6" or the equivalent, but I fear that many vehicles which are not will prefer to come through Melksham at the end of this year, rather than pay £100.

Yesterday, mid afternoon, someone went into the river at the A350 bridge.  With the extra traffic from Bath, and with the town centre bridge closed one way for railings to be fitted, there was already three times the traffic on the one bridge and then that was closed. The net outcome was gridlock for miles around.   Police instructions to "use an alternative route" were - err - impractical. Sadly, a body as recovered at around 10:30 p.m.

Another thread talks of a Melksham Eastern Bypass.   I have a great concern at yet more road building, yet at the same time I take a look at the proposal and say it has some merit, not only for the transport but for the quality of life along the existing road.  And for joining up the town's railway station to the town - on opposite sides of a busy and dangerous artery (another death near the top of Station Approach, a few hundred yards from the bridge involved last night) without having to cross it either on the level of through the subway that's struggle to keep "welcoming".

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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2020, 02:48:52 pm »

I went out for a walk yesterday ... and with it a chance (!) to walk 700 metres along the A350.  Lots of 'heavies' along this stretch and there are said to be an extra 200 of them using the road each day due to turn traffic being diverted away from Bath; it felt that the air was anything but fresh.   I did not dally - just snapped pictures as I went; I have no way of knowing which of these heavies is "on diversion" and which would have been there anyway.

So - should an eastern bypass be built?  I can see strong arguments both for and against, and I'm currently in learning mode.   As a general principle, I would prefer us to stick with the roads we have and I worry about adding  / enhancing one stretch just moving congestion elsewhere, yet I really feel for the people who live beside this road. Should we be going carbon neutral and not using fossil fuel in the next few years, and what effect will that have on the volume rather than the cleanliness of traffic?    Could more go by rail (but it will need much more capacity here!)?   Will life come back with a changed lifestyle after the Coronavirus shutdown, and if so what will be infrastucture needs then?

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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2020, 03:06:46 pm »

Electric HGVs are still some way off. AIUI, unlike cars where the uptake is really limited "only" by finances and charging infrastructure, with heavier vehicles there are still problems of batter capacity to be overcome. In any case, I can't see electric lorries reducing volume of traffic; if anything, it will be increasing due to lower running costs.

Tuesday had come down through Dundrum and Foster Avenue, brine-fresh from sea-travel, a corn-yellow sun-drench that called forth the bees at an incustomary hour to their bumbling.
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